While many asset managers continue to fail to connect meaningfully with registered investment advisors, many are turning to such digital media as micro websites, social media and mobile applications, according to a new report from Financial Research Corp., “Winning Strategies for Marketing and Distributing to the RIA.”

“While a traditional ad campaign is typically short-term in nature, we are now seeing firms couple them with social media elements, which can increase the long-term impact of their campaign,” said Amy LaFrance, author of the report. “This generates more meaningful interactions with RIAs and opens the door to building stronger relationships in the future.”

The report looks at 13 major asset managers’ brand and advertising campaigns launched last year. FRC found that eight, or 61%, have included a digital marketing component in the campaign.

“The use of digital venues is an example of pull marketing, and although pull-marketing is not new, its rapid embrace by asset managers is,” LaFrance said. “For example, Ivy Funds just launched its first-eve brand campaign aimed to build awareness with advisers. As part of the campaign, they decided to tap into the social media networks Facebook and YouTube Ivy also incorporated a scannable quick response (QR) feature in their print ads that enables smartphone users to access specific online content.”

The report also finds that for the RIA community, traditional push marketing strategies, such as advertising, mass e-mails and cold calling, is less effective than a singular marketing approach. “Although push-marketing strategies have been effective in other intermediary channels, asset managers could benefit from marketing and wholesaler interactions that are tailored more for the RIA channel,” LaFrance said.

RIAs also research products and investment themes on asset managers’ websites, and their use of websites is 30% higher than other intermediary channels, FRC found. “This increased use by RIAs also correlates to the fact that RIAs are typically less receptive to, and therefore less influenced by, external wholesalers,” LaFrance continued. “We believe that asset managers should enhance their websites to better meet the needs of RIAs’ quest for information.”

While RIAs point to performance as the most important factor when selecting a mutual fund or other investment product, during times of weak performance, a strong relationship with the wholesaler can support business with the adviser, FRC found.



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